I know plenty of you have been going to the store recently to get bird feed for your outdoor feeders. It is that time of year, after all. However, professionals are saying that you need to stop filling your feeders immediately. Here's why.

Apparently, a strain of bird flu is making it's rounds in New York, one of 31 states that have been exposed to HPAI, strain H5N1 in wild birds. Dr. Victoria Hall with the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota says we should all pause the use of bird feeders for the next couple of months until the the virus transmission rates go down.

Not only will this action help to protect those beautiful feathered creatures that visit your yard, but will also help all wild bird species that are already having it hard this spring because of HPAI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 27 million cases of avian influenza have been reported in backyard and commercial poultry as of April 8th. They say another 637 cases have been reported in wild birds with more than a dozen in New York. Six cases have been reported in Cayuga County, along with three in Seneca County.

There have been no cases reported in humans and the CDC said the risk to most people low. But Dr. Hall says that all bird species are susceptible to the strain. The virus is able to withstand cool, damp environments and it is being spread among birds by feces and secretions from infected birds.

People are advised, however, to avoid direct contact with live or dead wild birds, as well as domestic birds that appear ill or dead.

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